Ur-Emotions and Your Emotions: Reconceptualizing Basic Emotion

Emotion Review 2 (1):14-21 (2010)
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Abstract

The term ur-emotion is proposed to replace basic emotion as a name for the aspects of emotion that underlie perceived similarities of emotion types across cultures and species. The ur- prefix is borrowed from the German on analogy to similar borrowings in textual criticism and musicology. The proposed term ur-emotion is less likely to be interpreted as referring to the entirety of an emotional state than is the term basic emotion. Ur-emotion avoids reductionism by indicating an abstract underlying structure that accounts for similarities between emotions without implying that the differences are unimportant. This article is dedicated to the memory of Bob Solomon, and is framed in terms of his decades-long analysis and critique of the concept of basic emotions

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